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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  October 1, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" countdown to denver. president obama and mitt romney prepare for their first debate. both sides trying to lower expectations. >> governor romney, he's a good debater. i'm just okay. >> president obama is a very -- he's a very gifted speaker. the man's been on the national stage for many years. he's an experienced debater. he's done these kinds of debates before. this is mitt's first time on this kind of a stage. >> flashpoint libya, the white house on the defensive after reports of both security and intelligence nurse in benghazi before that terror attack. >> standing up, sitting down. >> which ever one you like. >> there you go. >> do whatever they tell us. >> the white house line is you heard the president say, osama
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bin laden is dead, al qaeda is done, everything is fine in the middle east. this, obviously, contradicts -- ther series of events contradicts that campaign slogan. so, the fact is, that this was clearly an act of terror committed by people who were pretty well trained jihadists. >> more carnage in afghanistan. the taliban take responsibility for a suicide attack that killed 14 today including three americans. we are deployed in the hot spots today with lester holt live in afghanistan and ann curry on the syrian border. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington, days away from thes first presidential debate in denver where mitt romney and barack obama will be trying to reach a shrinking pool of undecided voters. joining me for our daily fix, chris cizilla. the challenges for both. everyone trying to lower expectations but the fact is,
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that both of these -- both of these debaters are experienced, they both had primary debates but there is a challenge first for mitt romney, he's never gone head-to-head against barack obama and for the president, he has not debated in a while. he didn't have any -- of course didn't have any primary challenges this year. >> right. andrea, i always think it's hilarious, last night in las vegas barack obama said i'm an okay debater. it's like when lou holtz was the coach of notre dame and playing east/west texas state, i don't know, they're pretty strong this year. you have to put it in some context. both of these people as you point out have risen to a point where they are the nominees for president for the parties. neither are bad debaters. they are both able and capable. you're right. look, barack obama hasn't debated in four years. mitt romney has had a lot of debates in that time, but i do think it's worth noting, andrea, that all of mitt romney's debates have been against multiple people. there was never a time where he
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had a one on one debate against rick santorum or newt gingrich or rick perry. always debating four or five people who were really sort of aiming at him. he was the frontrunner throughout. barack obama had four debates against hillary clinton, one on one in the 2008 democratic primary, then three debates against john mccain. it's a different dynamic than to be the frontrunner where four or five people are aiming at you throughout a debate. >> here we are on the eve practically of the first debate and it's supposed to be an economic, domestic policy. >> right. >> and now foreign policy has reared its head. we have first of all mitt romney and "the wall street journal" an op-ed, saying that these developments are not as president obama says, mere bumps in the road. they are major issues that put our security at risk, yet amid this upheaval our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them, not moving them in a direction that protects our people or allies. and paul ryan just now on the
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laura engram radio show, saying this about afghanistan. >> that echos also what john mccain said on "morning joe" today. are they trying to change the skubts to get off -- subject to get off 47% and other missteps and perceived problems in their camp or see a real vulnerability
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here after benghazi in the way that the white house has handled this? >> if they see a real vulnerability andrea, it's not born out in the public data yet. look at all the data, that goes back months and months the one place where president obama has been strong is on foreign policy and his handling of terrorism. you can argue after benghazi and what's happened in the, you know, few weeks since what we've learned, maybe that's weakened somewhat, but i still think that this is an election decided on who do you think has the better skillset to move the economy forward? i think foreign policy matters. clearly look, an op-ed and then paul ryan saying what he said with laura engram is not by accident. it's purposeful. i think they wind up coming back to the economy. >> that is the subject of the debate unless they go off topic. chris cizilla, see you later. thank you so much. and foreign policy is, of course, a crushing issue for all of those with soldiers deployed
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and their families at home and three more americans among the dead after a suicide bomber attacked a military patrol today in khost, afghanistan. the bomber struck a group of afghan police and u.s. troops as they walked through a market. the taliban claimed responsibility. nbc's lester holt is in kabul where he's been reporting for the past week and a half as part of a special nbc news series on region and conflict. lester, you have been on the ground, what is your take away on the green on blue attacks and this suicide attack which is different, at least the taliban taking responsibility? >> well, andrea, it's really in some ways all related that those three troops killed in khost today were operating with afghan national police on a joint patrol. that's part of the exit strategy for the u.s. to hand control over to the afghans. all the time i've been here, commanders have been wanting to demonstrate and show to me these joint patrols and how this
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transfer is happening. now the closer, of course, u.s. forces work with afghan troops, that, of course, brings into the question these insider attacks which we've been seeing happening more and more. there was a pause for a few weeks, but yesterday, as you noted in eastern afghanistan, an american soldier, american contractor were killed when an afghan soldier opened fire an insider attack and created a fair amount of worry in the military and what they're saying is, afghan army, you've got to do a better job of vetting some of your soldiers. they have been vetting and there have been confirmed instances where they have found taliban trying to infiltrate and join up with local police and even the army and caught them before they could do harm. clearly there is still an infiltration campaign and some, andrea, worry this will undermine the very pinnings of this operation. this operation to train the afghans to take over their own security. >> and we've been talking about this grim statistic of 2,000
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americans dead since the war began, the longest war, yet that number in itself understates the fact that this is only -- only -- the number of people -- the number of troops that died in afghanistan, in country, there are others who died of their injuries on the way home or once they did get back to the states. >> there's been a lot made of this 2,000 number but for some time, we've been reporting over 2100 americans killed here in combat. you're right, 2,000 on the ground, but what happens here, they've got a robust air medical evacuation system here. if you're injured on the battlefield they'll get a chopper to you within the golden hour to get you help and very often the soldiers are whisked out of the country and unfortunately some die en route to germany or other places. over 2100 i think it's safe to say have died in this conflict. the last three years have been the deadliest. that troop surge did not come without a cost to american
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lives. now, as the surge has come to an end, 33,000 fewer troops on the ground, we're seeing afghan troops now suffering a much larger share of the casualties. but still very dangerous, volatile battlefield. we've spent time in the south and the east this week. all very dangerous areas where the taliban continue to show resill generals. by the way, that attack in khost vol dates the taliban's promise and vow to try to commit more spectacular attacks. they don't do well in traditional engagements, battlefield engagements of the u.s. troops so we may see more of these kinds of attacks. >> finally, lester, there's been some really rough criticism of the president today by john mccain and now paul ryan saying that the president ignored the advice of his military, he didn't surge enough, that he should have not telegraphed a deadline for withdraw. how -- from your perspective and from the commanders in the field, how do they assess the
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strategy and the withdraw schedule? >> you know, when i first got here i sat down with general allen, the commander of all the international forces here and i asked him, i said, is this 2014 withdraw timeline, is it too fast? are you having to train afghan forces too fast? he said in many ways it makes it easier for them, allows them to focus as they try to move on toward that goal. no general i've spoken to has contradicted the leadership from white house. they know where their marching orders come from. they've been given an order and say they can do it. by 2014 they can largely hand over control to afghan forces. they're working, andrea, from every level from the top elite afghan commandos right down to local police made up of villagers and some cases who don't wear uniforms, but they are training them. the sense is this is our marching orders, this is what we've been asked to do and this is what we can do and deliver. >> thanks to you, lester holt, and we look forward to all of your reports today and tonight
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on "nbc nightly news." to the crisis in syria where rebels have been fighting a war against the assad regime for 18 months. ann curry has returned from syria who spoke to everyday syrians caught in the crossfire of this escalating conflict and rebel fighters. she joins us from the syrian border in turkey. >> ann, tell us about your experience, you crossed the border, went with rebel forces, were guided through very dangerous territory and talked to the people directly affected and caught in the crossfire? >> that's exactly right, andrea. hello. we went in as the numbers in this war are pretty staggering. there's something like 30,000 people as many as 30,000 people have been killed in the last 18 months, more than a million people are living on the run inside the country, half of them children according to the u.n. and expected by the end of this year, some 700,000 people will have fled to neighboring countries and become refugees.
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it's in this climate that we entered syria. we went as you said with the syrian -- the free syrian army and we passed through the checkpoint we noticed they very much wanted to let it be known they were in charge. their flags were flying, they were in charge of the checkpoint. as we went with them towards aleppo, we saw bread lines, massive numbers of tanks, disabled tanks that were left over from the government, and we also say lots of bombed out buildings, so we saw lots of damage. what's happening is this free syrian army is in charge of pockets of land and they're trying to hold on to it. as we got closer to aleppo, andrea, we saw air strikes. we saw the evidence of air strikes not too far away and we met up with a commander of some 2500 soldiers, rebels essenti essential essentially, fighting under him in aleppo and he talked about -- he was complaining about the use
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of aerial strikes by the government and he said, if the world, if the united states would just give -- would create a no-fly zone or allow the rebels to have rockets, he said that the war here that's claimed so many lives and killed so -- and caused so many people to be on the run, would end in two days, andrea? >> and ann, one of the people -- one of the refugees whom you spoke to, was a displaced woman named hoda. talk to me about her. it was a commelling interview -- compelling interview. >> she's one of about a million people who are basically living on the run inside syria, about half of them according to the united nations children, and she's living in a tent. she had just arrived that day. she arrived because her son was hurt in an aerial strike. he was wounded on his head and also in his leg. he had gotten some hospital care, but he was recovering in this tent and she was very
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upset. she was crying and saying, you know, essentially to the pilot of the plane, do you not have children? you know, and to president bashar assad, do you not -- do you want to see your children suffering in the way that is -- my son is suffering. she was very, very upset and she essentially asked a very good question, and that is, why is this war not being fought on the front lines? face to face, military to military. why is it being fought as she's asking, amongst civilian populations. that's a very good question. given how much suffering the civilians of syria are going through right now. >> ann curry reporting exclusively from syria this weekend and tonight as well on "nightly news." thank you so much. up next, the debating game, we'll have virginia governor bob mcdonnell. president obama's prep with jen saki traveling with the president in nevada. this is "andrea mitchell
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on wednesday night, mitt romney's going to be standing on the same stage with the president of the united states and i am telling you, david, come thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change. >> is it going to be a game change? bracing from declining polls and series of missteps that have sparked criticism from prominent republicans mitt romney takes the stage with president obama and it could be a pivotal moment for his campaign. joining me now, virginia governor and romney supporter bob mcdonnell. thank you for being with us. how important is this debate and do you think we'll be waking up on thursday morning as chris christie said with a completely different campaign? >> i think all the debates are
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important but particularly this one because it's on domestic policy which is the critical issue in the race and the first times that americans will get to see mitt romney and barack obama side by side. not only hear their words and assess their styles and their candor, but also get to hear the ideas. i think that's what this whole race comes down to, is the record. i would say the failed record of barack obama on jobs, on gas prices, on debt management, on energy and compare that to the vision and the ideas for the future that mitt romney has. it's very important. the last couple weeks there's been a little bit of a movement for the president. but listen, speeches don't create jobs. rhetoric doesn't create jobs. good ideas do. and the president, despite his efforts, has failed to help the american people get back to work and i think mitt romney has better ideas. that's what this debate will be about. >> business crill crystal and o
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republicans have questioned whether mitt romney has been specific about his ideas. here's paul ryan on fox news sunday. >> lowering tax rates by broadening the tax base works. and you can -- >> but i have to -- you haven't given me the math. >> i don't have the time -- it would take me too long to go through all of the math. let me say it this way, you can lower tax rates by 20% across the board, by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class for things like charitable deductions for home purchases, for health care. >> where is the math? and is mitt romney going to be under pressure in this debate to produce the specifics as to how it will all add up? >> well, andrea, first that's a laughable question. where's the president's plan? he's had four years, 23 million people don't have work. so let's start with that. >> the question was asked by -- the question was asked by chris wallace on fox, being asked by
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other republicans, where is the math, how do you add up those tax cuts, even eliminating some deductions, which deductions would you eliminate, let's be specific and how will you do that and reach deficit reduction, which programs will be cut? >> the question is, how do you get america back to work. what paul ryan said on your clip is, you flatten the base and increase -- excuse me, you increase the number -- reduce the number of deductions that are out there and you expand the base. that's typically what works. that can be done in a revenue neutral fashion that's what paul ryan has proposed and what that does is make america more competitive. mitt romney has been specific on how he would get america back to work and replace the failed policies of the president. andrea that's what this is about. the president's policies on job creation haven't gotten us back to work.
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8% unemployment for 43 months. i mean what mitt romney said very specifically on job creation, is expanded trade by reducing the barriers, creating a better climate for america by keeping tax and regulatory policies in a better shape, energy. this president has been horrific we just lost 1200 coal jobs in virginia last week because of the regulatory policies of the obama administration, what the president of the company said. i think they've been specific on the types of things that they would do to be able to increase jobs, provide more access to the american dream, and tough decisions have to be made. i cut spending in virginia about $6 billion eliminating deficits. republican governors have done it all over the country. sure there was some complaining and hardship at the beginning but we're running surpluses and the job rates in red states are better than blue states and that's what mitt romney will do. >> he's been specific about his goals. he hasn't been specific about how to reach those goals.
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what about what paul ryan acknowledged on fox -- >> andrea, hold on. >> go ahead. >> i have to stop you on that. the president of the united states, has not got a budget passed in three and a half years. that's -- you know, governors balance budgets every year on time. this president has not got a budget passed either house, even though he's had a majority. the president has had no plan to reduce the debt. he's increased the deficit a trillion dollars a year. so let's start with the failures of this administration. mitt romney has said look, we've got to cut spending, we're broke, we've overpromised, we've overspent -- >> but sir -- >> and -- >> governor, where would he cut the spending. >> let's trust him on that. >> you cut a lot of domestic -- we've already got a plan to cut a trillion -- $1.2 trillion. half of it is balanced on defense spending in a time of war. that's a mistake.
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and so i think we need to cut trillions of dollars in order to get our budget balanced. and you could start with cutting two or three or 4% almost across the board some of the things that other governors have done, by i think you target it in those areas where the spending has not produced tangible results in the quality of life for the people. i can just tell you, andrea, i did it in virginia, governors like christie and scott and kasic and walker have done it in all of their states, mitt romney did it when he was governor of massachusetts, $3.5 billion deficit eliminated, and it can be done. is it going to be easy? are people going to have short-term pain? yes. is it necessary in order to be -- restore the fiscal posture of the u.s., absolutely. >> thank you, governor mcdodge. the question for both candidates is going to be what sacrifice and what specifics are they willing to cut and where and how does it all add up. thank you very much. we'll be watching the debates
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a young high school student there did not qualify automatically as the top 10% of graduates in texas do for admission, so she was looked at in in the remainder of the other 25% of the class, race is a factor, says that's unconstitutional. nine years ago the supreme court gave the green light to colleges to use affirmative action if there were no race neutral methods to get to diversity. the question is whether the court has changed and become more conservative when they look at it they probably won't be as generous with affirmative action. the second case, the voting rights act, the landmark 1965 law signed by president johnson a key provision that says states that have a history of discriminating in the voting procedures, have to get permission from the federal government before they make any election changes at all. three years ago, the court signalled it thought maybe that was outdated that the south has changed, parts of the south that did better at minority representation than the north that weren't covered by the law
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and sent a message to congress that they should update it. congress didn't do anything. the question is whether the court is going to weaken or overturn that. and finally on same-sex marriage, andrea, the issue the defense of marriage act. the federal law that says marriage is only between a man and woman, the question is whether that is unconstitutional discrimination. >> it could be really earth shaking changes in the law and how we live in the united states. pete williams at the supreme court, thank you so much. and two days until the first presidential debate. the challenges for both candidates coming up. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. my doctor told me calcium is efficiently absorbed in small continuous amounts. citracal slow release continuously releases calcium plus d with efficient absorption in one daily dose. citracal slow release. with efficient absorption in one daily dose.
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good to talk to you from debate camp. >> yes. >> how is the mood out there? is this a walk in the park since "the washington post," the people polled by "the washington post" seems to think the president has this thing knocked. >> well, you know, we don't pay attention to all those polls. look, i think the romney campaign has been clear for months they're going to use this, pull out every zinger in the book to use this as a game changing performance. that's what they think they need, that's what they expect mitt romney to deliver on on wednesday evening. as the president's preparing over the next couple days in lovely las vegas he's looking at it differently. he thinks this is an opportunity to speak directly to the american people as he did at convention about his vision for moving the country forward. that's who our audience is, so that's what his focus is over the next 48 hours until denver. >> now, bob mcdonnell in an interview just now with me said that while i was questioning him about the lack of pictuspecific would achieve deficit reduction and cut taxes to the extent they
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will, he said what about the president's deficit of job creation and the fact he hasn't had a budget in three years. >> i heard him say that was a ridiculous question which we couldn't disagree with more. over the last 30 months we've created 5.1 million jobs, learned last week more than we thought we'd created over the last 30 months. we still have a long way to go. the president's laid out plans on how he wants us to get there. whether that's investing in infrastructure or doing more for small businesses, making sure teachers and firefighters have an opportunity to go back to work, you know, one the other pieces that mitt romney needs to deliver on on wednesday is some specifics about his plan for the middle class. his plan for bringing down the deficit. it's not a ridiculous question. it's something the american people want more details on. >> jen, what about the weaknesses that barack obama has in that he has not faced debates, he hasn't had primary opposition and does he tend to be too talky, too profess oral and patronizing? what are you trying to coach him
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out of? i would assume not saying in as he did in 2008 in new hampshire to hillary clinton, you're likable enough. >> they're very close now as you know. there's a couple things. i've worked for the president about six years. he's familiar with his strengths and with his challenges. one of his challenges he tends to give long substantive answers. that's his nature. that doesn't always work for the format in debates. we're working on that. you know, and doing some practice in advance of wednesday. but this isn't the ideal format for him, so, you know, we'll see how things go on wednesday evening. >> do you expect that he may face some attacks on something other than domestic issues, even though that is the agreed upon format for this debate. there is a lot of criticism and the latest came from paul ryan yet again on libya and on intelligence failures in benghazi. this what is ryan had to say on
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fox. >> the response was slow, it was confused, inconsistent, they first said that it was a a youtube video and spontaneous mob. we know it was a planned terrorist attack. if this was one tragic incident that would be a tragedy in and of itself. it's part of a bigger picture of the fact that the obama foreign policy is unraveling before our eyes on our tv screens. >> they sense a vulnerability there because mitt romney has an op-ed in the "wall street journal" zeroing in, heard from john mccain today on "morning joe," same theme. >> an op-ed, speech, couple lines is not going to convince the american people mitt romney and paul ryan are ready to lead this country when it comes to foreign policy issues. as you know, the president has, during his time in office, not only taken out osama bin laden, he's decimated al qaeda, restored our place in the world, worked with leaders from other countries to, you know, take a hard line on iran, making sure they're not creating a nuclear
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weapon or they're not acquiring a nuclear weapon. you know, i don't think the american people are looking for chest thumping and empty rhetoric and that's what we're hearing from the romney/ryan team. the op-ed was lacking in specifics. it was just full of rhetoric that we've heard before and frankly is overly political and lacking in, you know, a real vision for leading the country as commander in chief. >> jen psaki see you in denver. >> see you in denver, andrea. >> here to discuss what's at stake for mitt romney as well on wednesday night, michael gerson, "washington post" columnist and former speechwriter for george w. bush. you helped prepare president bush in 2000 and 2004 for his debates. what are the particular challenges for the two contenders as you see it today? >> we saw it in 2004 that the president had not involved in debating the whole primary season in the obama scenario. >> mitt romney has been throwing punches and receiving them in over 20 debates. i think that probably helps.
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if you look at the univision forum that president obama just did, he got fairly softball questions and he had a shaky performance. that should be a wake-up call for the obama team. they must be recommeally focuse this. that is an advantage for romney coming into this. he has the biggest disadvantage as well which is he has ground to make up, has to do something not just play defense, which i think the president can do more of. >> senator mccain who's been there, done that was asked about it today. >> first thing is you don't want him to say something stupid. >> right. >> but you're -- >> first do not harm. >> exactly. >> yeah. >> but second of all, you really want to, i think, be able to respond to your opponent in other words rather that have your own line. you better be ready for something your opponent says, and clearly mitt romney needs to describe his vision for the future of the country. >> can you win these debates with just a good one liner,
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with, you know, you're not jack kennedy, i knew jack kennedy, with there you go again. is that enough, the quick line? >> no, i don't think so. you do prepare lines, both sides will, whether they admit it or not. and i think the responses, the counter punches are often more important and that requires whit, not just preparation. that's hard to make up for. but so i do think that it matters, but it's the overall performance that matters. i feel sorry for these candidates because there's a bunch of people sitting around the room telling them to do ten impossible things and at the end saying be yourself. you know, the challenge here. but i do think that some -- you do prepare some lines, but romney's challenge is to make a consistent, critique of the president, but also to convince people that he cares about the concerns of average americans which is a problem that was raised by the 47% comment which is something that obama can easily press during this debate and i think romney's going to
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have to have a good, consistent set of answers on that. >> is it a safe bet he's not going to offer any $10,000 bets? >> yeah. but you never know. i mean, what kind of error that you can make in the moment. but both of these men are pretty cool debaters, they're actually pretty skilled in this, they're not particularly exciting. i'm not sure this is going to be great television. and i think jim lehrer will keep it even keel as far as the performance itself. >> you prepared president bush. how tough is it to be sitting with the president of the united states and telling him, no, sir, you're doing this wrong. let's try it again. is it harder to prepare a president? >> well, a person that needs a team that's capable of doing that. and a good opponent which i think he has here. john kerry as his debate, you know, preparation opponent here, that can school him in these things. that i think is important and kerry's quite good. we saw that in 2004. he did quite well in all three of those debates but it should
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be sobering to romney that kerry did well in those debates but it was not decisive in the election. >> a challenger wins just by being on the stage with an incumbent president, but you have to be ronald reagan and do a there you go again and make something of that in the ensuing campaign and also outside events, obviously, iran, the hostage situation was fatally damaging to jimmy carter. but -- >> you can only make the case that really three presidential elections of the modern elections, the debates really played an important role. 1980 was one of those. >> 1960. >> 1960 and probably gerald ford's election where he said that the eastern europe was not -- or poland was not dominated by the soviet union, made some difference in a close election. but this is going to be a close election. in spite of what you see in some of the polls, some are close now, the fundamental dynamics of this race are quite close and so its could make a difference in this race. >> thank you so much.
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up next, is iraq unraveling? a look at where the u.s. policy stands now, next on "andrea mitchell reports." we make a simple thing. a thing that helps you buy other things. but plenty of companies do that. so we make something else. we help make life a little easier, more convenient, more rewarding, more entertaining. year after year. it's the reason why we don't have customers. we have members. american express. welcome in. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i looked at my options. then i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you.
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september was the deadliest month in iraq in more than ten years. an increase in insurgent attacks against civilians and iraqi security forces. since the last u.s. troops pulled out last december sectarian and political conflicts threaten to destabilize the country. the story of america's role in that war is the subject of "the end game the inside story of the struggle for iraq from george bush to barack obama." the co-author of the end game michael gordon joins me now. congratulations. this is an epic piece of work. u.n. and general trainer have been digging through it from both sides on the ground in iraq and here in washington and elsewhere. but, let's talk about what you think is the real reason for this rise in both sectarian attacks and attacks against
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security forces. is this iranian influence? >> i think it's more complicated than that. i think that, you know, the worst has not happened in iraq. we don't have a civil war. the country hasn't collapsed for the doom sayers who thought the place was going to go up in flames, that hasn't occurred. >> john mccain and others even today on "morning joe" was saying it's all blowing apart. >> well it's not all blowing apart. but what we -- but there are a lot of reasons for concern. without an american military footprint on the ground, even a small one of a few thousand troops, the iraqi commandos would become less capable of fighting al qaeda in iraq, which is responsible for a lot of these bombings because the american forces really used to enable them, and there's a bit of a drift towards author tare jim under nouri al maliki and iraq has cooperated with iran until very recently, they were
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tolerating iranian flights through iraqi air space to syria to plop up bashir al asside. there are reasons for concern. >> you also account -- recount how this administration tried to sort of push maliki aside, they did not trust maliki? >> what's interesting about the obama administration, is they had policy goals in iraq which were unstated. i mean officially they tell the american people, the dwool is to get all the troops out. behind closed doors, they actually tried to do a lot of political engineering in iraq. they tried to shape the iraqi government, explored an alternative to maliki and then tried to create a power sharing arrangement which actually didn't occur. there was an extraordinary episode we recount in the book where president obama called the president of iraq jalal talibani and asked him to resign his job to make way for another iraqi politician. he didn't resign his job. so the obama administration was a lot more involved in trying to shape iraqi politics and you
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would think from just reading the papers. >> we hear from the administration, from the president, we got out of iraq, we solved the iraq war. is it solved? >> well, first of all, it's important to recognize that the goal was not to get out of iraq. actually, it conducted the -- the administration conducted a negotiation with the iraqis, with the aim of legitimizing the presence of some 5,000 american troops. >> with the iraqis refused to accept. >> they refused to accept but also the americans started very late, they opened the negotiation in june, just allowed several months for it. the president was not so directly involved in it, although the vice president was. vice president biden. the americans were hobbled by divisi division. the state wanted much more agreement than the white house did. >> with the war fatigue and challenges in syria, a continuing escalating level of violence in afghanistan, there is no appetite to try to fix
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whatever wasn't finished in iraq? >> well, certainly american forces are not going to go back into iraq. i don't know anyone who's really proposing that. but there -- there are people who think there needs to be more concerted effort to expand american influence in iraq, not just to have -- well, one, to counter the iranians, two, to have influence in iraq, so it becomes a country worthy of all the thousands of american troops who sacrifice their lives there and also to effect the situation in syria. there's a lot of reason for the united states to be more energetically involved in iraq, but that doesn't mean, you know, at this stage, people were talking about sending troops back into iraq. >> michael gordon, the book is "end game." we thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and what political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? that's next right here on "andrea mitchell reports." years of our government employees insurance company,
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which political story will
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make headlines in the next 24 hours? chris is back with us. talk about "the washington post"/abc poll which has questions like, who would you rather have as a ship captain in a storm or whom would you prefer to have dinner with at your home? barack obama favored strongly on both of those questions, at least. >> yeah. >> what's your take away? >> we get a little bit of flack for people who says who cares who you would rather be a ship captain of the storm or dinner about. >> what does it tell you? >> part of a huge poll like the nbc wall street journal poll, tons of questions, these are two or three questions as part of that, but two, i think it gets to the sort of, particularly who would you like to have dinner with, the likability issue and i do think likability does matter. we saw in the poll, we asked who do you think is more likable and friendly, more standard issue poll question, and 61% of the people said barack obama, 29% said mitt romney. what mitt romney has to hope is,
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that people put aside that who do i like more question and what the undecideds are thinking when they go in the polling places, who do i think can get the job done. who cares if i like them or don't like them, who is the resume, talking about the things to get the job done. that's what romney has to hope voters are thinking about. >> and add this one program note, david gregory is moderating the big scott brown/elizabeth warren debate on the nbc stations in the area and also on c-span as well for those of us out of town. that's an exciting matchup as well. thanks so much to chris cizilla. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports" tomorrow, obama campaign senior adviser robert gibbs joining us, tamron has a look at what's next on "news nation". >> let's face it, there's no shortage of advice coming from all sides leading up to what governor chris christie sure thinks is a game changing debate. is christie off message when he predicted it comes down to wednesday for governor romney or simply saying what everyone else
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is thinking? that's our gut check. we'll take a look at debate strategy from romney's zinger preps to the president's team trying to keep his answers short and to the point. a professor who's actually an expert on political rhetoric, what he says you should be watching for during the debate. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing a look twice. introducing a stunning work of technology -- the entirely new lexus es. and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection. [ "the odd couple" theme playing ] humans. even when we cross our "t"s and dot our "i"s, we still run into problems --
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what he says you should be what he says you should be well, if it isn't mr. margin. mr. margin? don't be modest, bob. you found a better way to pack a bowling ball. that was ups. and who called ups? you did, bob. i just asked a question. it takes a long time to pack a bowling ball. the last guy pitched more ball packers.
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but you... you consulted ups. you found a better way. that's logistics. that's margin. find out what else ups knows. i'll do that. you're on a roll. that's funny. i wasn't being funny, bob. i know. hi, everyone. i'm tamron hall. the "news nation" is following the game change moment, at least that's what governor chris christie is calling it. the first presidential debate and mitt romney's possible last chance to make big impression. the top romney surrogate is the first republican to publicly admit that this wednesday's debate just two days away is a make or break moment for the romney campaign. >> on wednesday night, mitt romney's going to be standing on the same stage as the president of the united states and i am telling you, david, come thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to


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